All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Focus Group Recruiting in Health Communication Campaigns: Lessons from a Project on Risky Sexual Behavior
Unformatted Document Text:  Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns page 6 their successful use of focus groups with sensitive topics (Farquhar, 1999; Hoppe, Wells, Morrison, Gillmore & Wilsdon, 1995; Hughes & DuMont, 1993; Jarrett,1994; Kitzinger & Farquhar, 1999). However, even with these limitations, focus groups offer many benefits including being particularly good for exploring fluid constructs that are formed from interaction among people (Krueger 1988). In fact, in contrast to the idea that people may not speak their mind because of group dynamics, those very same dynamics may allow people to become more comfortable discussing taboo topics (Kitzinger, 1995). Della Carpini and Williams (1994) note other strengths of focus groups are that they allow social interaction, and provide the researcher with the flexibility to probe more deeply in areas that arise through conversation. Also, compared to the individual interview, the focus group helps control researcher bias because there are more people interacting under less researcher control. These strengths help focus groups bridge the gap between the qualitative and quantitative approach to communication research (Delli Carpini & Williams, 1994). CREATING THE SAMPLING PLAN A focus group study’s sampling plan should be constructed based on the theoretical underpinnings of the research and the specific research questions to be addressed. The plan should specify the sample size, an explanation of the criteria used to identify or exclude respondents, as well as the specific recruiting procedures that will be used (NIH, 1999). This means it must specifically identify the target population’s characteristics, including gender, age and psychometric dimensions since this rigor provides researchers with a means to effectively explore the research questions (Kitzinger, 1995; Morrison, 1998). The plan, therefore is purposeful (and not random), in its attempt to specify a sample of participants who possess characteristics representing key attributes of the target population. Based on the theoretical foundations guiding the Mass Media Project, the focus group sampling plan was built around a target population of young adults who exhibited high sensation seeking personality traits such as risk-taking and novelty-seeking, or who were characterized as impulsive decision makers. As noted earlier, the Project’s investigators have identified these factors as being associated with high-risk sexual behaviors (Donohew et al., 2000), and have also created successful mass media campaigns targeting high sensation seekers who were potential substance abusers (Palmgreen, Donohew, Lorch, Hoyle, & Stephenson, 2002; Stephenson & Palmgreen, 1999; Stephenson et al., 2001). Therefore, higher levels of sensation seeking and impulsive decision-making were defined as key characteristics of the sample and were treated as essential criteria for qualifying individuals for the focus groups. In order to address those most at-risk, another criterion was that the individuals should not be in a long-term committed sexual relationship such as marriage or living with a partner. The sample was designed to include both students and community members, because the planned mass media campaign in each city will reach individuals in college and those who are not. For the purpose of this paper, the student/community

Authors: Allard, Suzie., Palmgreen, Philip. and Zimmerman, Rick.
first   previous   Page 7 of 29   next   last



background image
Recruiting for Focus Groups in Health Communication Campaigns
page 6
their successful use of focus groups with sensitive topics (Farquhar, 1999; Hoppe, Wells, Morrison, Gillmore
& Wilsdon, 1995; Hughes & DuMont, 1993; Jarrett,1994; Kitzinger & Farquhar, 1999).
However, even with these limitations, focus groups offer many benefits including being particularly
good for exploring fluid constructs that are formed from interaction among people (Krueger 1988). In fact, in
contrast to the idea that people may not speak their mind because of group dynamics, those very same
dynamics may allow people to become more comfortable discussing taboo topics (Kitzinger, 1995). Della
Carpini and Williams (1994) note other strengths of focus groups are that they allow social interaction, and
provide the researcher with the flexibility to probe more deeply in areas that arise through conversation. Also,
compared to the individual interview, the focus group helps control researcher bias because there are more
people interacting under less researcher control. These strengths help focus groups bridge the gap between
the qualitative and quantitative approach to communication research (Delli Carpini & Williams, 1994).
CREATING THE SAMPLING PLAN
A focus group study’s sampling plan should be constructed based on the theoretical underpinnings of
the research and the specific research questions to be addressed. The plan should specify the sample size,
an explanation of the criteria used to identify or exclude respondents, as well as the specific recruiting
procedures that will be used (NIH, 1999). This means it must specifically identify the target population’s
characteristics, including gender, age and psychometric dimensions since this rigor provides researchers with
a means to effectively explore the research questions (Kitzinger, 1995; Morrison, 1998). The plan, therefore is
purposeful (and not random), in its attempt to specify a sample of participants who possess characteristics
representing key attributes of the target population.
Based on the theoretical foundations guiding the Mass Media Project, the focus group sampling plan
was built around a target population of young adults who exhibited high sensation seeking personality traits
such as risk-taking and novelty-seeking, or who were characterized as impulsive decision makers. As noted
earlier, the Project’s investigators have identified these factors as being associated with high-risk sexual
behaviors (Donohew et al., 2000), and have also created successful mass media campaigns targeting high
sensation seekers who were potential substance abusers (Palmgreen, Donohew, Lorch, Hoyle, &
Stephenson, 2002; Stephenson & Palmgreen, 1999; Stephenson et al., 2001).
Therefore, higher levels of sensation seeking and impulsive decision-making were defined as key
characteristics of the sample and were treated as essential criteria for qualifying individuals for the focus
groups. In order to address those most at-risk, another criterion was that the individuals should not be in a
long-term committed sexual relationship such as marriage or living with a partner. The sample was designed
to include both students and community members, because the planned mass media campaign in each city
will reach individuals in college and those who are not. For the purpose of this paper, the student/community


Convention
Submission, Review, and Scheduling! All Academic Convention can help with all of your abstract management needs and many more. Contact us today for a quote!
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 7 of 29   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.